I spent Sunday morning doing a couple of sessions at our new pilot course on trade unions and politics. The course was well received by the participants, who assisted with a detailed evaluation.
The course was oversubscribed, which is in itself a good indication that there is a growing understanding that politics matters. Converting an interest in politics into practical political activity is yet another challenge. Although with the Labour Party recruiting nearly 30,000 new members since the election, maybe there is some progress here as well.
Those of us brought up in a political environment often take it for granted that others understand politics, particularly in the trade union movement. However, when you talk to members and activists, it's obvious that we need to do very much more to educate members, to enable them to make a greater contribution to political debate. We are therefore looking at how we can include shorter versions of this course into other training, or deliver a shortened version at local level.
This type of training, together with our communications, can help develop a better understanding of the impact politics has on our members jobs. It can also raise awareness of how trade unions can influence the political process and build greater member engagement with our campaigns.